September 16, 2019

I Can't Type

It has been ten days since I wrote this and my brain was dead writing it. And my brain is still tired now that it is 9 pm writing.

I sliced off the tip of my my left index finger last Friday while chopping spinach. I was in shock not knowing how much of my finger was missing. My finger bled profusely into the sink. I called my oldest over. I asked him to call my husband. He took me to the urgent care. I wanted to swear at the doctor as the doctor cauterized the wound with silver nitrate.

Now I can't type worth beans. It's a major handicap.

It has limited me quite a bit. I am not even sure I want to try to change the typos because of the effort it will take. It is taking 3 times the effort to type than usual. I have a huge wad of gauze and Coban on the end of my finger.

I never realized how useful my finger was until I couldn't use it. It is really annoying in the shower. So really, I should be counting my blessings. Haha!

This happened at the same time that my son has been in a cast after a club foot surgery and needed carrying everywhere. Really poor timing.

It has had a few benefits. I tell my husband he can change all the poopy diapers. I need to keep the  bandage and wound clean.

September 01, 2019

Jesus Suffered for the Victim and Abuser

"New Growth" among the ashes
Via Public Domain Pictures
This subject is sensitive and this is my opinion. Readers are welcome to take what helps them and ignore what doesn't.

As I grew up, I knew that Jesus suffered for the sins of the every person. I learned that he suffered for every pain and sickness and other infirmities (Alma 7:11-13). The Atonement covers all human suffering. Jesus felt all that pain in the Garden of Gethsemane and again on the cross. Through his pain we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I knew that I was a person who sinned who needed to be forgiven. I also knew that at times people hurt me, and I needed that hurt taken away. I was not perfect and no one else was perfect.

In our world, Satan lies to people that no one is worthy of redemption. He discourages individuals from praying: that we are unworthy to pray, or that we have sinned too much to repent (See 2 Ne. 32: 8).

Victims sometimes are mistreated in the process of seeking healing. (Here are healthy ways to help.) They run into people blaming them instead of the abuser for the abusive act. The abuse is not their fault. This victim-blaming is not good. Sometimes it is intentional; sometimes, it is unintentional. This complicates the wounds of the victim. They feel that they are unworthy.

Jesus understands a victim's pain and shame. He can empathize in that dark hole.

Victims understandably feel anger because of some of the shaming they have felt. Their anger is a part of the natural process of grieving. However, it is not okay to hurt others, hurt oneself, or hurt things when a victim is angry. Satan can sometimes twist the step of anger into contention. Satan can lead victims to lash out against those who who make mistakes trying to heal them and those who propose healing or forgiveness. Victims can choose how, when, or if to forgive.

Some in our culture have put victimhood on a pedestal and made redemption and forgiveness a horrible act. Now it is guilty before proven innocent with little or no due process. We just need moderation and truth. Ironically, the pendulum swung the other way during the late 90s when forgiveness without boundaries was preached.

The word 'abuse' has been so hackneyed and thrown out for every offense in the world. Abuse has almost lost it's meaning or has become such a shock word that people almost always overreact. I used to overreact at 'abuse.' I had to redefine this word without the shock value after two people shamed me over child abuse.

I have had moments of suicidal thoughts that I have expressed aloud. My son heard me a few years ago. It is abuse in front of children. However, I need help, not shaming by society to overcome such a problem. My son and I both received counseling. I have seen others in society shame the mentally ill for abuse of their children over this. This is a call for help, not an opportunity to shove someone when they are down.

Being a victim of intimidation by a child predator, I felt powerless for a time. But I had to act. I informed police and religious leaders of instances of stalking. I would not take the intimidation lying down. I love this abuser, so I knew he needed to be held accountable for his actions. This is how he will hopefully change his heart and he may repent one day. Very little has happened, but that's how life is. I don't believe anything will happen, but because key people are aware of the situation, he is limited in how many children he can hurt. I hope and I pray he repents. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for his sins. I know that Jesus Christ suffered the pain of every one of his victims. They can find healing in the Savior. The morass can only be made fair through the Atonement. Redemption is for the sinner and the saint.

July 01, 2019

No Fireworks on my Birthday Please

Via Public Domain
I loved the Fourth of July as a child. After all, the entire nation celebrated my birthday. Most people remembered my birthday. I got to always watch fireworks and hang out with family and friends on my birthday.

But then reality hit as an adult. I worked on my birthday three years in a row before marrying. I didn't mind too much. I made money after all.

I had much different expectations for my birthday than my husband did after we married. I was used to spending time with my aunts, uncles and cousins or friends on Fourth of July. My husband wanted to celebrate with just us. I was very angry when he refused to go to my family's house for six hours on my birthday. Come to find out, he was waiting for Cold Stone to open with a custom birthday cake. I was still livid because the party my family had partially planned for me was over by the time my husband and I arrived.

My husband was being sweet, but not listening to my wishes. After a few years of marriage, I realized I hated surprises, and necklaces, rings, dresses, etc.

My birthday became harder each year with my grand expectations of wanting to do parades, fireworks, be with my family yet have rest. It was so much simpler as a child when my parents took care of the logistics of parking, packing and preparing the food, driving through traffic, paying money for everything. Once I was old enough in my small hometown, I could walk or bike to all the events myself.

Now I have four boys ranging from from tweens to toddler who have varying wants. I live in Utah Valley with crazy traffic on the Fourth of July. I have become a hermit on my birthday where I don't want to do anything at all. My husband finally has a day off of work. I can take a nap and a break from the kids. I might see my parents and a few relatives. There is no simple celebration. I don't even want to stay up late on my birthday. The fireworks keep my kids up. I wish that there was no Daylight Savings Time so the fireworks would begin at 8 pm. Then I could fall asleep, or read in peace. I am just a plain party pooper these days. It's pathetic.

For my birthday wish, stop the fireworks at 10 pm please. Haha!

Doubt the neighbors or the city will follow my wish. ;)

June 24, 2019

Who Fits the Traditional Mold?

"People have the most self-esteem when they achieve a balance in their sense of inclusion and uniqueness. That is, they wish to be similar enough to others to feel a part of their groups, but they also want to be be different enough to be special." 
Mark MoffettThe Human Swarm p. 134

My Relief Society studied Sharon Eubank's General Conference talk "Christ: the Light that Shines in Darkness" on Sunday. We discussed the section "Some of us feel we don't fit the traditional mold." One sister commented that none of us really fit the "traditional mold" because we are all unique.

In the Church community, sometimes we can feel like we don't fit the "traditional mold" of a Saint. Many have the idea that Saints are heterosexual couples with two or more children. The man served a mission and the woman may have served a mission. If they live in Utah, then they are probably white, have some pioneer heritage, grew up in the Church, are "conservative", etc. But this all follows a stereotype that we create in our minds of a "perfect" image. It isn't reality for most people. Even those who partially fit a stereotype, are not so easily typecast.

Some might say my family fits the mold of a returned missionary husband, yet he left when he was 22. I came home early from my mission. I have difficulties because of my bipolar. We have four boys, which would meet a stereotype of members; we both are from pioneer and convert heritage; white. We are libertarian conservatives. I chose to only act on heterosexual feelings, but I had some bisexual leanings as a young adult (my experience is not indicative of others).

There are other members I know who are single, divorced, remarried, struggling with addiction, LGBTQ, Democrat, Republican, childless, all races, and so on. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a place for everyone to gather to bring themselves closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father through sacred ordinances.

In Sister Eubank's talk, she says Christ's sees us in our tree, or as an individual. Christ knows our pain and sorrows. Then we come together in unity of purpose in our families and wards to improve ourselves and comfort one another. We are all imperfect, so we will smooth each other's edges out as bump into one another to fit together, per se.

This reminded me of how humans have two competing desires: to be a part of a group, yet assert their individuality. We need your individualism to retain personal identity, but retain a group identity too. If we don't maintain this balance, we feel too isolated in uniqueness or passed over in a crowd.

Church can be a struggle at times because we feel a loss of our personal identity among the group of Saints. We feel that we conform to the lifestyle of the Church's commandments. We no longer stand out. Some want to do anything to bust out of the traditional mold. So some may show individuality (or rebel) in small ways. Others feel that they don't fit the traditional mold for various reasons. And so they feel alone and isolated. Both groups have lost the balance of inclusion and uniqueness. We can try to find the balance by looking toward Jesus Christ to meet our needs.

Satan manipulates our desire to fit into any group with feelings of self-consciousness. We won't meet our potential because we are worried about what our peers or enemies may think of us. My second son was missing a button on his shirt so that he was extremely self-conscious during church. He tucked his head down, as if anyone could tell that a button was missing. It really wasn't that noticeable. My husband took him home for the second half of church. But he missed time being with friends because of his self-consciousness.

Self-consciousness has stopped me in my life from speaking or doing things. I am afraid of being judged as a mother especially. I try to remember that it only matters what my Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ think of me. Only they have pure motives concerning my growth. So I can rely on the Spirit to guide me in my actions.

April 24, 2019

Shiny New Ideas

Via Public Domain Pictures
My mind likes to catch onto the shiny new idea instead of finishing old projects. It's why I have many novels started, but very few finished.

I had a shiny new idea yesterday while lying on my bed for a nap. It came: A woman who would commit social security fraud. She'd have to collect it from some people she knew who died. Maybe she works at a nursing home or it could be relatives. Relatives would be easier. Well, how about three aunts who have lived with her. And ideas spawned from there.

My brain thinks of many shiny new ideas thanks to bipolar. But it isn't necessarily bipolar either. Everyone gets sick of the mundane. Sometimes, we just want spice in our lives.

Shiny new ideas make it hard to focus on completing the mundane ideas. I have ideas that have been around for decades that I have never finished. I have several drafts of those stories. I want to tell those stories, but they require work. Anything requires work.

I found it harder to truly concentrate after I started medication because I no longer have hyper-focused hypomanic episodes. I could accomplish so much in a short amount of time--but then I would have the crash. It would take time to recover from the crash. My relationships and mental health would suffer.

It is more difficult to finish projects since having children. I have rare snatches of writing time. I am frequently interrupted besides my own brain interrupting me. Life is busy with the medical needs of four boys and my own. There are always chores. The mundane is always with us. And the mundane is comforting too. My family had too much excitement at the end of March with a newsworthy incident. So the mundane is fine.

I can write about shiny new ideas.

March 26, 2019

That Pee Smell

Via Public Domain Photos
When I lie on the couch to read, I want to relax, but that smell keeps coming to my nose: pee. It is somewhere in our house. I want to find the source, but the source is everywhere: the dirty diaper pail seven feet away, dirty laundry underneath the changing table, the toddler sitting next to me, the couch cushions, everywhere!

I remember going to friends' houses with babies and it would smell like pee. I swore that my house would never smell like that that. I knew that my house would stay clean. I kept my parent's home clean as a youngest child.

Now the pee smell never goes away as a mother of four boys. My toddler rips off his diapers multiple times a day. I find the diapers stuffed in random places. He pees and poops all over the house until I catch him. I wrangle a diaper on his bare butt. My husband taped his diaper on one night.

This doesn't include when the diaper overflows. The pee and poop leak on the couch and bed. Oh, it is just wonderful.

We potty-trained our third child last fall, but he still wears a pull-up for night time. He sometimes changes into underwear independently in the morning. Other times he doesn't. This is when the pull-up is leaking all over the couch in the morning. This is why I sniff pee on the couch when I read.

I thought once my boys were potty-trained the problems went away. Oh no, it doesn't. No one ever talks about bed-wetting. Enuresis. It's there. It keeps going. And you give your child the medication the doctor it doesn't work. They just have a nasty reaction to it. Does your child reduce drinking before bedtime? Maybe for a few days. Then I am just too busy for the reminders anymore.

And then there is the advice from doctors and well-meaning people on potty-training and bed-wetting. One lady said she started poop training at six months old and potty-training at eighteen months old. She pressured me to potty train my oldest for a month. I had several people unnaturally pressure me to potty-train my oldest. I tried multiple times during eight moves in eighteen months and I only felt frustrated with my oldest. Outside pressure only made things worse for both of us.

Leave parents alone!

What can I expect from my children when I can't control my own bladder anymore? I rarely practiced all those Kegel exercises. When I sneeze from sun exposure, it comes it triples. My underwear is wet. And I still have occasional accidents when I have diarrhea. I just know how to clean it up myself.

So, I have become really good at cleaning pee in my house. I use baking soda laundry detergent, vinegar, and occasionally super washing soda and borax. My husband complained that his underwear smells like vinegar. That's because I use scent-free dryer sheets. My only goal is to have everything have a neutral smell in my home. I don't want to cover up the smell of pee with floral scents. I want it gone with pure and natural chemicals!

February 26, 2019

Bipolar Spring Fever and Eliminate the Time Change

Via Public Domain Photos
I feel burned out at this time of year. My body has experienced a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder or maybe just the winter blues since November. December I had it particularly bad. But mid-February I have this strange beast from the equalizing of the light. The spring equinox disturbs bipolar people's circadian rhythms. It is so random. I read about it my local newspaper three years ago. This is March Madness or spring fever for bipolar people.

I made another connection last year when I saw the Business Insider article about the time change causing an increase in heart attacks, car accidents, bipolar suicides, workplace injuries and so on. I have made suicide attempts a couple times within a few days after the spring time change.

This year I feel a little more prepared because I am aware of what the spring equinox and the time change do to my mental health. I have been working on a few extra steps to prepare myself, but I have had a hard time the past four days.

I sent an email to my state representative about the time change. I even got a thoughtful response back. I felt so proud of myself for doing that before the actual time change happened!

I sent in a letter to the editor to one of the state newspapers. I don't know if I care if the letter is published or not. Really, I feel quite validated that my representative responded to me.

What is so simple about eliminating the time change is that it violates no one's second amendment right, yet has the potential to reduce suicide. That has been my soapbox thinking in all my rough drafts that will never see the light of day.

Anyway, one day at a time.